“Heroes” is playing through my desktop speakers. And stops. Moves on to “Clay Bodies” by Zola Jesus. The robot head of Jack Kirby, set next to the speakers on my desk, has stopped talking. The web of connections that gauzed the room have faded. The lights in its eyes have gone dead. I take the cigar from its jaws, feeling suddenly like the people at Marvel who recovered and framed Jack Kirby’s last cigar (butt) at the office. Except that this was my bloody cigar and the thing just bitched at me until I donated it. Bastard didn’t even have lungs. Just a stolen and repurposed robot head full of words and pictures, running off electricity. A thing full of connections.
And connections, of course, are all you’ve found here.
If I were a responsible author, I’d provide you a list of sources here. But, to be honest, a lot of the material here was gathered using the machine of connections, the internet. If there’s a statement you want sourced, stuff it into Google. You’ll find a lot of the interview-based material that way. I half-remembered things that Jack Kirby and others had said, and chased them down across the howling wastes of the web. The things you don’t find… you’ll discover they’re mostly the anecdotes of a writer who’s been involved with the medium for twenty years or more. Me. These things just accrete in your head, when you’ve been studying the medium and its history (and meeting and talking to people) for that long. And, before you know it — or, at the very least, when you’re forty and you sit down to start trying to write a comics column with a new angle to it — you, too, are a thing full of connections. You can see how everything ties to everything else, that nothing happens in a vacuum, and that all culture is a web of connections.
This wasn’t a complete view of comics, nor was it a detailed one. It was a ride across one part of the landscape, nothing more.
This short book was inspired by the cultural writing of Umberto Eco, and by Paul Morley’s WORDS AND MUSIC, and by the work of Simon Reynolds, Lester Bangs, Chris Roberts and all the other people who made me realise that writing about music is music. And that, maybe, writing about comics could be music too.
I’ll be back in a few weeks with the start of another 26 instalments of something. Happy new year.
I can be sent things via Avatar Press at Avatar Press, 515 N. Century Blvd., Rantoul, IL 61866, USA, but I cannot promise a response or a review. You can email me at email@example.com, but I warn you, it’s a dump address, not my regular email address, so it can take me a few days to check it.